Their inaugural 2020 Insights on New Zealand Professionals research, which surveyed 130 New Zealand sustainability professionals in February 2020, provided a foundation of intel on the sustainability profession including the pathways to employment, remuneration and role structure, and the skills and competencies organisations are looking for within the profession.
With a global pandemic having a huge impact on jobs within many industries, this will no doubt have also had an impact on the sustainability profession in the time since the 2020 survey.
"It will be very interesting to see how these roles have evolved over the past extraordinary year - the capabilities that have become more necessary, individual wellbeing in the roles, and the impact on remuneration. The 2021 research will also provide a barometer of organisational appetite for sustainability and where focus may have shifted to", says Sarah Holden, Director of Oxygen Consulting.
"While we’re aware there have been sustainability role redundancies amongst corporates over 2020, we are also seeing growing consumer awareness of the link between environmental and human health. This means the demand for businesses that give back to nature - by making healthier food or organics, or waste-free and low carbon products and services - is increasing", notes Rachel Brown, CEO of Sustainable Business Network.
"This means businesses will be investing again in growing their capability and innovating in this space, to meet public demand".
Sustainable Business Council Executive Director Mike Burrell says New Zealand’s leadership on Covid has been recognised internationally. We have the opportunity to do the same with sustainability.
"Business ambition and commitment to sustainability continues to grow, driving a need to build capability in the sustainability profession. The very fact that we were able to maintain our membership during an incredibly challenging 2020 reflects this. We’ve also grown the SBC team to help deliver on our strategy. There’s no doubt 2021 will be a big year in New Zealand for the sustainability profession as we move from legislation to action."
Marjo Lips-Wiersma, Professor of Ethics and Sustainability Leadership, Auckland University of Technology has seen a growing interest in the profession as more people are returning to studies post lockdown. "Enrolments and enquiries into our sustainability programme have grown… the sustainability role is professionalising and up to date technical, self-management and change management skills are required to meet current challenges".
The research is open from 18 January - 12 February 2021 to people currently working in sustainability roles in a New Zealand organisation. ‘Sustainability’ includes responsibilities that address the social, environmental and economic risks to the organisation and participants can be in full-time, part-time, or contractual positions within public, private and not for profit sectors.
AUT’s Ethics Committee (AUTEC) has approved this research (AUTEC reference number 20/393) and a participant information form outlining the research in detail can be found here. To go straight to the survey, click here.